CounselorsEmpowerACA Government Affairs Blog

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May 15, 2017

Medicaid, Behavioral Health, And Congress

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a valuable source of information about healthcare, has just released a useful infographic on Medicaid’s role in behavioral health.

 The infographic begins with the following points on Medicaid:

  • “Behavioral health conditions, which include both mental illnesses and addictions, affect a substantial portion of the US population, including many people with Medicaid.  Many behavioral health providers do not take any type of insurance, restricting access to treatment for a large number or of people. “
  • “Medicaid coverage and financing facilitate access to a wide variety of behavioral health services, including psychiatric care, counseling, prescription medications, inpatient treatment, case management, and supporting housing.“
  • “The Medicaid expansion provides states with additional resources to cover behavioral health services for many adults who were previously excluded from the program.  Medicaid restructuring as proposed in the American Health Care Act could limit states’ ability to care for people with behavioral health conditions.”  

The material illustrates the number of people with unmet mental health needs (25 million), the number of people with addictions (16 million), the percentage of adults with mental illness who are covered by Medicaid (21 percent), the decline in mental health hospital stays in states that recently received additional Medicaid spending (44 percent), and how much Medicaid funded out of all mental health spending by any payer (25 percent), as well as other useful facts. 

The Affordable Care Act/Obamacare repeal act was recently passed by the House and is soon to be considered in the Senate.  The measure would eliminate Medicaid eligibility for an estimated 14 million people who became eligible for Medicaid under Obamacare.  This number is separate from the 10 million people who now purchase subsidized insurance from the Obamacare marketplace because they are not eligible for insurance from a government program or through an employer. 

The House bill would limit federal spending to an index of inflation in medical costs. Since the program's costs are increasing more rapidly than that index, over time the government would spend hundreds of billions less on Medicaid than it would under the current system.  State governments would decide whether and how to make up the difference.  In the current system, the government covers a share of each beneficiary's costs, regardless of how many enroll in each state or what their expenses are. That guarantee would end under the House bill.

You can read more here about Medicaid in the Senate bill here

and here about Medicaid’s role in Obamacare and the repeal.

Kaiser also has an article on key considerations in restructuring Medicaid.

To contact your representatives about Medicaid you can click here and input your zip code.

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